Free agent wing Jimmy Butler has signed a multi-year deal with the Miami Heat, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The star forward started last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves before an early-season trade to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Due to the cap implications, Butler has to be signed and traded to Miami. The 76ers are receiving Josh Richardson in return, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. He will be signed to a four-year, $142 million deal according to the New York Times’ Marc Stein.
Butler has been linked to the Los Angeles Lakers for some time and was reportedly a significant target for them if they could not sign Kawhi Leonard. The two-way star was also linked as a potential partner for Leonard if the two joined up on the Clippers. With Butler gone and Kevin Durant signed to the Brooklyn Nets, Leonard would no longer have the opportunity of playing with a star teammate on the Clippers.
Butler is one of the last superstars before Leonard to commit to a team. Durant and Kyrie Irving have agreed to terms with the Nets. Kemba Walker is going to the Celtics. And Tobias Harris is staying with the Philadelphia 76ers who were reportedly unwilling to offer Butler the fifth year on his contract.
D’Angelo Russell is still available but rumors seem to be pointing to him signing with the Timberwolves. Klay Thompson is also widely expected to re-sign with the Warriors.
The Lakers will now have most of their eggs in the Leonard basket and are likely to pursue several role players if they miss out on the former defensive player of the year. They have roughly $32 million in cap space to fill out the rest of their roster.